The historic East Sussex town of Rye has been an important place since medieval times when it was a member of the Confederation of Cinque Ports, a series of Kent and Sussex coastal towns formed for military and trade purposes. Once surrounded by sea, this fortified hilltop town has played a vital role in the defence of the south coast of England. These days the river no longer harbours warships and is home instead to the local fishing fleet. Rye is packed full of history. Its ancient buildings, cobbled streets and secret passages, once the haunt of smugglers and highwaymen, now attract visitors in their droves, eager to experience the unique charm of this perfectly preserved citadel. Though on the surface much about the town has remained the same over the past century or more, life for its inhabitants has changed significantly. Presented here in these photographs is a fascinating portrayal of Rye from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries.